First post

Come join our journey to the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the R/V L.M. Gould from February 14- March 17. We will be investigating the feeding dynamics of animals on the seafloor and the effects of global climate change on bentho-pelagic coupling (how the water column and seafloor interact). You can follow along using our blog . Submit questions to the scientists by emailing and then check the blog for answers.

Short project description:
High latitudes are expected to exhibit some of the largest temperature changes on the planet as a result of global climate change. Some estimates predict that by the year 2100 the latitudes of ~50-60 degrees north and south of the equator may be as much as 10ยบ C warmer during the winter than at present. Consequently, the ecosystems on the continental margin of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) may be a sensitive indicator of climate change. Extreme seasonality and interannual variability in the WAP pelagic ecosystem, however, make long-term trends difficult to resolve from existing climate noise. We postulate that the shelf benthic ecosystem has slower response times (or more “ecological inertia”) than much of the upper water column.
Benthic ecosystems on the Antarctic shelf potentially act as “low-pass” filters, removing high frequency seasonal noise and responding to longer-term trends in export production and pelagic ecosystem change. If this is the case, WAP shelf benthic processes may be extremely useful in resolving climatic changes occurring over periods of years to decades. However, to use benthic ecological signals as indicators of climate change, a better understanding of the processes driving bentho-pelagic coupling on the WAP is required.


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